Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pitt For Life: Pitt Band

Special blog post for today!  We’ll also have a regularly scheduled blog post on Friday that revolves around Light Up Night!  I was originally going to post this on Friday, but the last game of the season kicks off at noon on Friday, so I figured I’d do it a bit earlier.

Pitt Band arrives on General Robinson Street for the Panther Prowl.
As a student, I was never in the Pitt Band (University of Pittsburgh Varsity Marching Band).  I was never in the band in high school, either, however, I had so many friends in both Gateway (high school) and Pitt Band that I kind of knew all the drama, secrets, and events that were going on.  When senior year at Pitt came around, and I had some time as a photographer at Heinz Field.  As I’ve written before, I never considered myself a normal photographer by any means.  I always stayed on the field when the band was performing, while all the other photographers would go in and start processing photos.  Because of this, my friends in the band wanted me to be around for their last game on Heinz Field.  They talked to their band director and I was granted credentials through Pitt Band– for that reason, I consider myself an honorary Pitt Band member (Note: I actually have no affiliation with the Pitt Band).

Band members participate in the Alma Mater for the final time.
One of the most exciting things about the band is that their performance generally changes every week.  Pregame usually goes the same way, Hail to Pitt, Panther Song, Victory Song, the fight song of the visiting school, the Alma Mater, and the National Anthem.  There is a pretty normal progression (not in the above order) in what happens.  But it’s still fun anyway!

Color Guard and other band members with the Flag during the National Anthem.
Before pregame, however, the Pitt Band has already done at least three performances- The Panther Prowl, the Pregame Concert, and the March to Victory.  These all take place outside of Heinz Field to entertain fans as they arrive.  And then the half time show is different for every game at Heinz Field.

One of the Golden Girls during the pregame concert.
The half time concert during senior day was a nice concert that paid tribute not only to the seniors, but also to the band announcer who retired at the end of the game.  After that, the seniors were recognized and marched off the field playing the victory song.

A Color Guard member marching off the field for the last time.
It was an emotional day, allowing the seniors to say goodbye to the organization that they had been a part of for so long and allowing their fellow band members to say their congratulations.
Having been close to many of the band members, I was just as emotional as they were.  Some of these people I’ve know for seven to ten years- and when they’ve gotten very proud of the work they’ve done with Band, it’s hard not to be proud of them and with them.

Senior band members preparing to leave the field.
So, that’s my Pitt Band story.  I dedicate this post to all of the Pitt Band members, past and present, who have had the opportunity to represent Pitt in this wonderful way.  #HailToPittBand
I’ll leave you with the video of the final singing/playing of the Alma Mater from senior day.


All images are copyright 2016 Allen Howard/HDIC Productions.

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